A-Z Database

A-Z Database

All A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

When the word rich is used metaphorically, as in the statement, ‘that’s a bit rich’ it is expressing amusement or preposterousness and is first record...

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Rich as Croesus

Croesus c. 550 BC was the fabulously wealthy King of Lydia, an ancient kingdom once situated in what is modern Western Turkey. He is mentioned in the...

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A third class university degree, from Richard III, a British student witticism dates from the 1980s. According to Eric Partridge, Richard III is earli...

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Ride a tiger

To ride a tiger is to be in a very precarious or dangerous situation and this usage dates from the late 19th century. It derives from an ancient Chine...

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Ride roughshod over someone

Means to domineer, tyrannise or treat someone without any consideration and dates in this sense from the early 18th century. The origin derives from r...

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Ride/riding shotgun

Originally an American expression that means to travel in the front passenger seat of a motor car next to the driver. It derives from the earlier prac...

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There are eighteen alternative spellings for riffraff in the OED including rifraf and riff-raff. The word dates back to the early 14th century when th...

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Rifle approach/strategy

see Shotgun approach/strategy

Right as rain

Right as rain follows a whole host of other ‘right as’ expressions, all of which signify degrees of well-being but are all equally baffling. For examp...

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Right off the bat

Means immediately or spontaneously and is an Americanism dates from the early 20th century. It derives from baseball. See also Off one’s own bat.

Right on the money

see On the money

Right out of the screws

see Out of the screws

Right wing (in politics)

see Left/Right (in politics)


Rigmarole is a lengthy, complicated and often unnecessary procedure or it can mean a long rambling discourse. Its origin goes back to a medieval game...

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Ring down the curtain

At first glance, ring down the curtain appears to be a mistake. Should it not be bring down the curtain? Apparently not. Ring down the curtain dates f...

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